Introduction: Political Psychology and the Study of Politics

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Fields of scientific inquiry follow a common pattern. At the outset, excitement and enthusiasm prevail as a small group of founders offers a new conceptual framework and, usually, a new, related methodology. Sometimes the specific topics of inquiry are also new, at other times only the ways to think about them. Other, often young, scholars adopt the new perspective, and before long it becomes an active, visible part of the discipline. Typically, this very growth in prominence portends the beginning of a leveling off, if not decline, in research activity. Continuing scholarship takes the form of adding small increments of knowledge to the key central questions that the founders had posed much earlier.

Often missing from this sequence is a self-evaluation by the practitioners themselves. Concerned, as they should be, with substantive questions, the researchers don't stop to scrutinize what they do and how it fits into the larger discipline of which they are part. The criticisms usually come from elsewhere and consequently tend to undercut rather than strengthen the field.

In this volume, political psychologists take a hard look at political psychology. They pose, and then address, the kinds of tough questions that those outside of the field would be inclined to ask and those inside should satisfactorily be able to answer. Not everyone will agree with the answers the authors provide, and, in some cases, the best an author can do is offer well-grounded speculations.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThinking about Political Psychology
EditorsJames H. Kuklinski
PublisherCambridge University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780511510632
ISBN (Print)9780521593779, 9780521114424
StatePublished - 2002

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  • Research Output

    Thinking about Political Psychology

    Kuklinski, J. H. (ed.), 2002, Cambridge University Press.

    Research output: Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook

  • Cite this

    Kuklinski, J. H. (2002). Introduction: Political Psychology and the Study of Politics. In J. H. Kuklinski (Ed.), Thinking about Political Psychology (pp. 1-20). Cambridge University Press.